POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The number 25 is special at Idaho State University. That was Marcus Jackson's number. He was paralyzed while playing for the Bengals in 1996.
His courage before and since that day continues to inspire the Bengals. When you see the number 25 on an Idaho State football jersey now, you know someone special is wearing it.
The tradition calls for the number to be passed from teammate to teammate. Last year linebacker Kody Graves held the honor. He passed the number on to defensive end Rasheed Williams.
"When he reached out to me, you know, it was a it was an emotional time for me." Williams says he was coming back from a major foot injury.
"Being able to be healthy and thinking positive thoughts about the upcoming season, as well as being given that number was just, it was a blessing."
Idaho State defensive coordinator Roger Cooper has seen Williams fight to return to the field. "People have not bounced back from that. It's hard to have that bone regrow after being broken and so much damage. He worked his tail off and got back."
Williams is healthy once again. He also has the added motivation of representing Jackson's legacy. Cooper says that should mean big things from Williams when the season begins in spring.
"I expect him to be one of the stars of the defense. He's a great pass rusher. He is a natural football player, so he'll be able to be making a ton of plays."